ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Pranab BardhanSubscribe to Pranab Bardhan

Beyond Nandigram: Industrialisation in West Bengal

If we are to learn the right lessons from the tragedy of Nandigram, then we must ensure that the government is involved in the land acquisition process and that we correctly deal with three sets of issues: the size and form of compensation, the eligibility for compensation and the credibility of the process.

Nature of Opposition to Economic Reforms in India

Many economists and columnists in the financial press are unaware how unpopular economic reforms are with the public. The supporters of reform and their critics take extreme positions on issues that are sufficiently important for us to engage our respective intelligent opposition in serious conversation. The Left claims the reforms are "anti-people", when in essence it is defending the interests of the small strata of the salaried. The supporters of reforms, on their part, offer less than reasoned arguments in support of privatisation and labour reform, and work themselves into a frenzy about wastage in anti-poverty programmes. Discussion on reform is preoccupied with issues of trade and fiscal policy and financial markets. Reform would have been more popular if it were equally concerned about the appalling governance structure in the delivery of basic social services for the poor.

Theory or Empirics in Development Economics

in Development Economics PRANAB BARDHAN Since I agree with Dilip Mookherjee on the substance of his arguments, much of what I

Poverty Alleviation Efforts of Panchayats in West Bengal

This paper examines poverty alleviation efforts of West Bengal panchayats, comprising implementation of land reforms and pro-poor targeting of credit, agricultural minikits, employment programmes and fiscal grants. The sample includes 89 villages and covers four successive panchayat administrations. While average levels of poverty alleviation efforts were high, there were significant variations both across and within villages over time. Poverty alleviation efforts within villages improved when land was distributed more equally, the poor became more literate, there were fewer low caste households and local elections were more contested.

Strategy for Economic Reform in West Bengal

During the last two decades West Bengal has led the rest of the country with regard to agricultural performance and implementation of panchayat institutions. But these developments have begun to level out. At the same time the state has fallen behind in other sectors - industry, higher education and state of public finances, particularly - to an extent that is seriously worrying. This paper reviews performance of these different sectors, discusses possible explanatory factors, and makes a number of suggestions for policy reforms. With regard to industrial revival, it stresses public investment in transport and communication, measures to improve higher education, foster industry-university collaborations, and help small-scale industries overcome specific market imperfections (access to credit, technology and distribution channels). In public finance, emphasis is placed on raising tax revenues (especially with regard to the service sector), limiting losses of public sector undertakings, and widening the scope of land taxes and user fees. In the agricultural sector, the need for a greater role of the government with regard to biotechnology, extension services, irrigation and flood control is emphasised, along with suggestions for encouraging and regulating contract farming with MNCs. Finally the article urges greater empowerment of panchayats with regard to social service delivery and agro-business development, and administrative reforms to enhance accountability of state government employees.

Social Justice in the Global Economy

All around in the world today many advocates of social justice are in some state of despair. Some of them fear that social justice is a lost cause in a global economy. This paper analyses some of the opportunities and insecurities caused by globalisation and tries to show how a great deal of social justice remains within our grasp, even within the very real external constraints posed by globalisation.

Reflections on Amartya Sen s Prize

Pranab Bardhan Robert Solow has reportedly described Amartya Sen as the 'conscience-keeper' of economics. But Sen is not just a Mother Theresa figure for economists; he has valiantly tried to restore economics to the larger and more sophisticated tradition of one of its founding fathers, Adam Smith of the Wealth of Nations and the Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Avoidable Tragedy of the Left in India

Avoidable Tragedy of the Left in India Pranab Bardhan The left in India has to pay more serious attention to a long tradition in one part of economics, started by a Marxist economist Oskar Lange, where there have been earnest attempts to combine the agility and flexibility of market processes with the egalitarian goals of public ownership and public control over the distribution of surplus. It is possible to devise institutional mechanisms to cope with the serious incentive and agency problems of public ownership without compromising much on egalitarianism.

Some Reflections on Premature Obituaries of Socialism

Some Reflections on Premature Obituaries of Socialism Pranab Bardhan Socialism today faces the challenge of adjusting to political democracy and market competition without giving up on its basic egalitarian goals. It is imperative for socialist thinkers to devise new institutional mechanisms and adapt old ones to meet the challenge.

A Letter from Beijing

A Letter from Beijing Pranab Bardhan Some western journalists have pointed to a contrast between the recent turbulent events in the Soviet Union and those in China: in the Soviet Union glasnost has brought in some limited measure of freedom and open politics, but the economy is still in the doldrums and perestroika is more talked about than practised; in China, on the other hand, economic reform of the last few years has borne fruit, but the people's thirst for political freedom remains unquenched and hence all the political turmoil. While there are some elements of truth in this formulation, for China it ignores the fact that some of the political turmoil is directly related to the economic reform.


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